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Alcea rosea is often confused with:
Papaver somniferum Form
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Phlox subulata Phlox subulata
Impatiens walleriana Impatiens walleriana
Zinnia elegans Zinnia elegans
Alcea rosea has some common insect problems:
Slugs & Snails on Ornamental Plants
Japanese Beetle

Alcea rosea

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Althaea mexicana Kunze
  • Althaea rosea (L.) Cav.
  • Althaea sinensis Cav.
Phonetic Spelling
al-SEE-ah RO-see-ah
Description

Alcea rosea, or Hollyhocks, are herbaceous flowering plants that reseed themselves and can produce colonies of plants that return in the garden year after year. They are typically found in cultivated areas and rarely in "the wild". Their original habitat is unknown, but the plant is probably a cultigen that started out in Turkey. Note that it is sometimes listed in nursery catalogs under Althaea.

The plant prefers full to partial sun, a heavy, rich, organic soil and seeds, sown in late summer or early fall, will flower the following summer. The plant tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and some light shade, but will not tolerate wet winter soils. Considered a biennial or short-lived perennial. It is a very ornamental plant and the flowers come in a number of various colors, from lavender to red to yellow, and resemble Papaver somniferum (poppies). The flowers grow on rigid, towering spikes of 5 to 8 feet tall and usually do not require staking. The plant has a long bloom period of June to August.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Often grown as a biennial because it is susceptible to rust, leaf spot, and anthracnose. Slugs, spider mites, and Japanese Beetles can also be a problem. Lower leaves wither away during hot dry weather.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Nigra'
    Classic hollyhock whose deep maroon blooms look almost black.
'Nigra'
Tags:
#purple#hummingbirds#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#biennial#perennials#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#yellow flowers#fall interest#summer flowers#spring interest#edible garden#butterfly friendly#HS302#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Nigra'
    Classic hollyhock whose deep maroon blooms look almost black.
'Nigra'
Tags:
#purple#hummingbirds#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#biennial#perennials#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#yellow flowers#fall interest#summer flowers#spring interest#edible garden#butterfly friendly#HS302#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Alcea
    Species:
    A. rosea
    Family:
    Malvaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Can be used as a showy edible garnish or a container for dip.
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Turkey
    Distribution:
    Eastern and Central Canada, and throughout the continental United States.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Dimensions:
    Height: 5 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2b, 2a, 3b, 3a, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Schizocarp
    Fruit Description:
    Each flower is replaced by a fruit containing a ring of 15-20 seeds (technically, a schizocarp). These seeds are oval, flattened, and notched on one side.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    The central stem terminates in a spike-like raceme of flowers; axillary flowers are produced from the axils of the upper leaves as well. These flowers occur individually or in small clusters along the central stem; they nod sideways from short hairy pedicels. Each flower spans about 3-5" when it is fully open. The overlapping petals are usually some shade of white, pink, or purplish red. The sepals are light green, ovate, and much smaller than the petals. The bracts of each flower are located underneath the sepals; they are light green, hairy, ovate, and joined together at the base. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer into the fall; a colony of plants will bloom for about 2 months.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Orbicular
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are up to 8" long and across; they are palmately lobed (with 3-7 blunt lobes each) and crenate along their margins. Each leaf blade is orbicular or oval in outline and indented at the base. The upper surface of each leaf blade is slightly pubescent to hairless, and wrinkled from fine veins; the lower surface is light green and pubescent.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stout central stem is unbranched or sparingly branched; it is light green, terete, and more or less hairy.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Rabbits